National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene celebrates Chanukah with a global star-studded event

To usher in this year’s Festival of Lights, National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene presents its Folksbiene Chanukah Spectacular – a virtual evening of music, comedy, celebration, and community, with more than 50 participating performers worldwide, from Broadway to the Yiddish stage. Produced and directed by Adam B. Shapiro (one of the stars of NYTF’s critically-acclaimed award-winning Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish), the show’s curtain rises on December 8, at 7 pm, with an international opening number that honors Yiddish theater.

The gala is being streamed as a benefit for the Tony-nominated and Drama Desk Award-winning company. Now entering its 106th season, NYTF is the longest consecutively producing theater in the US and the world’s oldest continuously operating Yiddish theater company. “You cannot spell fundraiser without f-u-n, and that’s what the evening is about,” says Shapiro. “Tune in to see a tribute to the golden age of musical theater, hilarious sketch comedy routines, beautiful song, dance, and so much more.”

The cavalcade of celebrity appearances includes a special audio greeting from Carol Burnett and cameos by such luminaries as Emanuel Azenberg, Mayim Bialik, Billy Crystal, Tovah Feldshuh, Beanie Feldstein, Joel Grey, Jackie Hoffman, Carol Kane, Barry Manilow, Mandy Patinkin, Itzhak Perlman, Eleanor Reissa, Neil Sedaka, Steven Skybell, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, and Jerry Zaks, plus Steven Skybell, the award-winning actor who played Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish, along with other participants from the show (Jennifer Babiak, Joanne Borts, Lisa Fishman, Kirk Geritano, Abby Goldfarb, Samantha Hahn, Cameron Johnson, Daniel Kahn, Ben Liebert, Stephanie Lynne Mason, Rosie Jo Neddy, Raquel Nobile, Bruce Sabath, Kayleen Seidl, Drew Seigla, Adam B. Shapiro, Jodi Snyder, Lauren Jeanne Thomas, Bobby Underwood, and Rachel Zatcoff).

Steven Skybell and the cast of Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish. Photo by Victor Nechay/ProperPix.

In addition, salutations will come in from friends of the Yiddish theater across the globe: Geni Brenda (Romania); Mendy Cahan (Israel); Yefim Chorny (Moldova); Josh Dolgin (Canada); Suzanna Ghergus (Moldova); Daniel Kahn (Germany); Miwazow Kogure (Japan); Shura Lipovsky (The Netherlands); Freydi Mrocki (Australia); Polina Shepherd (Great Britain); and Merlin Shepherd (Great Britain).

Tatiana Wechsler, who was recently seen in the gender-bending, historic production of Oklahoma at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, will perform a special number with Frank London of the Klezmatics. And be sure to look for the stars of Folksbiene’s The Sorceress (Mikhl Yashinsky, Jonathan Brody, Rebecca Brudner, Jazmin Gorsline, Dylan Seders Hoffman and Lexi Rabadi), and members of the NYTF staff and team. The spectacular will conclude with a grand finale by members of the Teaneck, NJ Children’s Choir from Tzipporei Shalom of Congregation Beth Shalom (conducted by Ronit Wolff Hanan and Adina Avery-Grossman), as well as other young performers.

Folksbiene will also host a special pre-show Zoom cocktail party for donors at 6:15 pm, with Steven Skybell and Folksbiene Artistic Director Zalmen Mlotek; supporters who donate at certain levels will have special appetizers delivered from the Lox Cafe to nosh on during the show. For more information, please contact Joseph Mace.

Folksbiene Chanukah Spectacular livestreams at 7 pm, on Tuesday, December 8, 2020, and will be available for the following 96 hours. Viewing is free, but voluntary donations are requested to support the NYTF. For tickets (registration is required), go online.


    • I’m afraid we just report on the shows, we have nothing to do with ticketing. You would have to contact the theater company.

  1. i have been trying to view the show tonight and give a donation. I got as far as the page with ALL my information and it did not send when I tried to send.

    • The following comment was posted on the company’s Facebook page: Registration is now closed for the 7pm EST premiere screening of our Folksbiene Chanukah Spectacular. But don’t worry… our Star-Studded Chanukah Spectacular will be available on-demand starting on Tues., Dec. 8 at 9PM EST through Sat. Dec 12 at 7PM EST. — FREE — Visit


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